In the first step of the current naming review of Greer Elementary School, more than eight out of ten respondents to an online survey said they were familiar with the life and career of the school’s namesake, Mary Carr Greer. Greer was an early-20th century educator for whom the school was named when it opened in 1974.
Nearly seven out of ten survey respondents added that they were familiar with the school division’s values of equity, excellence, family and community, and wellness, as well as the school’s guiding principles of creating an equality of opportunity for every one of our children through an educational program focused on the individual student.
The survey also asked respondents to submit name suggestions for the school. Greer received the largest number of recommendations followed by Blue Ridge and Hydraulic Elementary.
In a separate process held at the school, students were given a chance to make name suggestions as well. Their top name choice was Greer, followed by Gecko Elementary.
The online survey received responses from 138 people including 33 Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) parents, 34 community members, and 14 students. It also asked those who took the survey which naming categories were important to consider in naming a school. The school’s values and location topped the list.
A community meeting to discuss the survey results will be held on Monday, May 16, at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom. During the meeting, community members can offer comments and share their thoughts about the history of the school and the survey results. Members of the community who would like to speak at the meeting should register by emailing SchoolNamingReview@k12albemarle.org no later than 9 a.m. on the 16th.
Following the public meeting on Monday, the community advisory committee conducting the naming review will narrow the list of names under consideration to five for further community input. If Greer is among these five suggested names, the committee will research the life of Ms. Greer to determine if that name is consistent with school division values.
The school naming review policy also requires that any descendants of the Greer family be notified of the naming review.
Born in 1883, Mary Carr Greer attended the Union Ridge Grade School, a primary school that would later become the Albemarle Training School. She taught school locally for several years before attending Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute in Petersburg, Virginia, now known as Virginia State University. She later joined the faculty at Albemarle Training School and, in 1931, became its third principal.
The volunteer advisory committee was chosen from those who expressed interest in serving. It includes the school’s principal, Steve Saunders, and the committee chair, Susie Lee, a guidance counselor at the school. Three additional committee members are Greer employees, three are parents, and three live in the school community, but do not have students attending Greer.
“Having an opportunity to engage our community in this review provides the chance to reflect on our history, as well as on that of our community and on our school and division’s values,” Lee said. “This is meaningful work that touches a great number of people in the Charlottesville area, and we are grateful to them for sharing their thoughts so far. As we move forward, it’s our committee’s hope that as many voices as possible factor into the final results of the process,” Lee added.
Greer is the seventh school in the division to conduct a naming review. In directing that all schools in the division that are named for individuals have their names reviewed, the school board said the purpose should be to ensure that the names of all schools represent the division’s four values of equity, excellence, family and community and wellness.
The six previous school naming reviews also were conducted by volunteer community advisory committees, with the school board approving four new names and retaining the current names of the two other schools. Summaries of all completed reviews and those in progress are available on the school division’s School Names Under Review web page.
Updates regarding the Greer Elementary School Naming Review, including survey results, are accessible on the school division’s School Naming Review website. Community members with questions or suggestions about the Greer naming review can email the advisory committee at SchoolNamingReview@k12albemarle.org.
Any member of the public who would like to livestream the May 16 public meeting may do so at http://streaming.k12albemarle.org/ACPS/schoolnamingreview.htm.
CONTACT: Helen Dunn, Legislative and Public Affairs Officer